With the world going crazy for SUVs over the decade, Dacia took their award-winning Sandero and gave it an SUV styling twist.
Raising the ride height for increased ground clearance, restyling the front and rear bumpers with lower detail akin to skid plates and an abundance of black plastics around the bumpers and wheel arches make the Stepway much more attractive than its less beefy sibling.
Affordability has always been principal with the Dacia brand, and the Sandero Stepway is no different. Priced from just £12,745 it is a couple of grand cheaper than the likes of Citroen’s C3 or the ZS from MG.
Totally redesigned from the ground up, the All-New Sandero Stepway features rugged SUV styling with a raised driving position. New LED Y-shaped headlights, roof bars, hill start assist, air conditioning and emergency brake assist all as standard, Dacia really are redefining the essentials.
A generous boot and interior space give you plenty of room to store life’s essentials, ensuring you’re always ready for your next adventure. A total of seven paint options ensure you the choice of either blending in or standing out from the crowd.
Available in three trim levels, the ‘Essential’ starts from £12,745 and features media control, Bluetooth, smartphone app, and DAB via an 8-inch media display compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Body coloured bumpers, rear privacy glass, and LED headlights help the car’s aesthetics.
Safety is taken care of with anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control with traction control and hill start assist, cruise control with speed limiter, advanced emergency braking system, and front and side airbags within the car.
Manual air conditioning helps keep occupants comfortable, while young travellers are in safe hands with ISOFIX in rear lateral seats.
A ‘Comfort’ model starts from £14,345 and adds body-coloured mirrors which are electric adjusting and defrosting, a height-adjustable driver’s seat with a central armrest, front fog lights, rear parking sensors with rear view camera, leather steering wheel, keyless entry, and automatic lights and wipers.
A range topping ‘Prestige’ starts from £15,145 and adds automatic air conditioning, electrical parking brake, high centre console with armrest, rear electric windows, blind spot warning, front parking sensors, and a spare wheel available only on the petrol model.
Two engines are available depending on trim, starting with a 1.0-litre TCe 100 Bi-Fuel (Petrol & LPG) which produces 100hp with 170Nm. Paired only with a 6-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels, it will accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds with a claimed combined return of around 48mpg (petrol) and 38mpg (Bi-Fuel).
The petrol only engine is once again a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged unit producing 90hp with 160Nm and paired with a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels, will accelerate from 0-62mph in 12 seconds with a claimed combined return of around 50mpg.
Opt for the CVT automatic transmission on this engine and your 0-62mph dash is a sluggish 14.2 seconds with a claimed combined return of 45mpg.
The car tested and pictured over a week last August, a Prestige TCe 90 Auto with its £595 Desert Orange paint option comes in at £17,240.
At a glance, I actually like the styling of the Sandero Stepway from Dacia. It is a little different from the norm and its rugged look suits this car better than it maybe should. Its 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, wrapped in Hankook rubber look great and provide perfect adhesion to the road.
Opening the boot reveals a suitably sized area to transport a week’s shopping, or a couple of sports bags, although a pram or buggy is unlikely to fit.
Stepping inside the Sandero Stepway isn’t what I had expected, as despite the vast majority of materials used being durable and affordable, it doesn’t feel overly cheap or too plasticky.
That said, one element inside that I struggled with was the adjustable phone holder which was incredibly cheap, flimsy, and I’d say would be broken within 6-months of ownership. The USB input for the entertainment infotainment system was behind this holder and in a very awkward to reach area.
There is much more room than expected inside, though, and a comfortable driving position was easily achieved.
Driving wise, this is a more than adequate, no thrills, A to B car that is perfectly suited to city life, but one that will cope with the needs of those who like to head into the wild for weekend adventures and pursuits.
Dacia offer a 3-year / 60,000 mile warranty, and for those owners who don’t do mega miles, this can be extended up to 6-years for just £400.
Words and Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY